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Jon Sprunk

Jon Sprunk Jon Sprunk is from Pennsylvania. He has published several stories in anthologies, but Shadow’s Son is his first novel. Learn more at Jon Sprunk’s website.

Shadow’s Son: Competent, entertaining, predictable

Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk

You could make an argument for establishing a new sub-genre called something like "assassin fantasy," given the number of novels currently on the shelves with heroes in that grim and surprisingly popular profession. So when the cover of Shadow's Son, Jon Sprunk's debut novel, shows a man wearing a hood and flashing a set of matching knives, it's not hard to predict the main character's occupation before even opening the book.

And yes, right in the opening scene, the novel's protagonist — Caim — is indeed found secretly observing a noble before attempting to assassinate him. After completing the job and escaping by using his mysterious "shadow" powers, Caim picks up another assignment that was recently abandoned by his colleague Ral. However, when Caim arrives at the house of the target — a wealthy man recently retired from the highest circles of power — ... Read More

Blood and Iron: For lovers of Ander Offutt’s Conan pastiches

Blood and Iron by John Sprunk

My favorite part of Blood and Iron is when Mulcibar tells shipwreck-survivor-turned-slave-turned-super-wizard-turned-Queen’s-Protector Horace, in all sincerity, that Queen Byleth is a strict mistress, but not cruel. Sorry, dude, you’re just wrong. Turning the brother who betrayed you over to your crazy mad scientist to be tortured as part of his experiment might qualify as “strict.” Sashaying down to the torture chamber/secret lab in your tissue-thin designer gown and gloating over said brother during torture is cruel. That’s okay, though, because tall, voluptuous, raven-haired, contralto-voiced Queen Byleth is not one of the main characters of Jon Sprunk’s new book Blood and Iron. She’s a high-fashion plot device, like Kim Kardashian doing a guest stint on Spartacus.

Blood... Read More